Wednesday, July 30, 2008

simplify your office

My clients will often tell me that they always seem to be busier during the summer months than during the school year... and they don't see how this is possible. Part of the busyness is that the weather is so nice that we spend more time outside, on vacation or with neighbors, friends and family than we do cleaning and organizing our homes, our offices and our lives.

Never-the-less, I've put together a list of ways to simplify everything from your trips to the grocery store to your filing system and I will share them with you over a 3-day period. Day 1 (yesterday) focused on simplifying your home activities. Day 2 (today) will shed some light on how to simplify your office space. And day 3 will give you some much-need advice on how to simplify your life and your family's life. Keep reading for more tips!

DAY 2: Simply Your Office

simplify your desk

Clear it of unnecessary papers, sticky notes, knick-knacks and anything else that does not belong. If you don't use it or enjoy it daily, put it in a drawer or on a bookshelf. Also, send reminders via e-mail or voice message to eliminate small notes and pieces of paper that will clutter you desk top.

simplify filing

Create an organized filing system with hanging folders and manila file folders. Label the tabs in a dark colored permanent marker and keep the tabs all on the same side (exp: all the hanging folder tabs down the middle and all the manila folder tabs down the left side) This will eliminate the need to rearrange all the files when a new one is added. Arrange your files in alphabetical order to make them easy to locate.

simplify task completion
Focus on one task at a time instead of multi-tasking. Do it until it is complete and then move on. You will actually save more time and you will feel more energized as you continually complete tasks instead of working with several in-process tasks.

simplify your planning
Make a list of tasks that require immediate action, those that are on the "back burner" and those that are off in the distance. Focus on and complete one task at a time, starting with the most pressing project. If you have a large, all-encompassing project, divide it into manageable pieces and tackle one piece each day or each week.

simplify your work day
Reduce interruptions and stay focused on the task at hand. Turn off your email and phone, and if possible close your door. Set aside routine times to read and respond to emails, phone calls and visitors. Be sure to let your co-workers know your schedule. If you work from home, try to keep scheduled "work hours" and "home hours" it is important to separate the two just as you would if you worked out of the home. Set up a home office and try to limit any interruptions as we mentioned above. At the same time, when you are not on "work hours" try to limit yourself from contently checking e-mails and voice mails. You don't want to burn out.

start today
If you are serious about starting a new, simplified life, there is no better time to start than right now! It takes at least 21 days to change an old habit or create a new one so if you start creating a more simplified office space today, you will be in great shape by the end of the year. Pick one idea from the list above and get started today! Once that item is complete or has become a habit, come back and try something else.

For more ideas on how to simplify your office or for help with your organizing endeavors, contact us directly or visit our website at We would love to help!

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